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With Sally Moving East, New Orleans Officials Breathe Sigh Of Relief


Now that Hurricane Sally has moved eastward and threats from the storm have dramatically decreased in likelihood, officials in New Orleans are exhaling a bit.

“It’s been a long year,” New Orleans Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (NOHSEP) Director Colin Arnold said of the city’s ongoing efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19 while also dealing with multiple tropical systems.

“I know there’s an element of fatigue out there,” he said during a Tuesday morning press conference, “but everyone in this city responds and rises to the occasion. And that's so important because, you know, we could be facing 30 inches of rain and we’re not right now.”

Mayor LaToya Cantrell thanked people for taking preparations seriously and heeding the advice of city officials, but urged residents to stay weather-aware.

“Although everything looks brighter for our city, we’re not out of the woods and we’re not letting our guards down at all,” Mayor LaToya Cantrell said at a press conference Tuesday morning.

Arnold said NOHSEP would continue to monitor Sally’s progress until it makes landfall, especially since its path has been slow and somewhat “wobbly.”

Officials will now turn their attention to opening up city services. The RTA will resume full service, except ferries, at 4 p.m. Tuesday.

City Hall will reopen Wednesday morning, and New Orleans public schools will resume distance learning Wednesday as well. Arnold said an official announcement from NOLA-PS would come later today.

Garbage collection will also resume Wednesday, and the trash collection that was canceled Tuesday will be made up for on Friday.

Neutral ground parking restrictions will resume at 8 a.m. Wednesday.

7 a.m.

Hurricane Sally weakened to a Category 1 storm over the Gulf of Mexico overnight, and Southeastern Louisiana is no longer under a hurricane watch.

As of the 7 a.m. update from the National Hurricane Center, there is still a tropical storm warning from the mouth of the Pearl River westward to Grand Isle Louisiana, including Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas and metropolitan New Orleans. There's a storm surge warning for the mouth of the Mississippi River to the Okaloosa-Walton County Line in Florida and Mobile Bay.

Hurricane conditions are still expected Tuesday along the Mississippi-Alabama coast. A hurricane warning is in effect from the mouth of the Mississippi River to the Okaloosa-Walton County Line Florida and Mobile Bay.

Sally is still "meandering" slowly over the Gulf. It was about 65 miles east of the mouth of the Mississippi River at 7 a.m. with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph. The storm will pass near the coast of Southeast Louisiana today and make landfall on the Mississippi-Alabama coast Wednesday morning.

The latest rainfall map shows less than an inch predicted for Louisiana. Flash flood warnings have been lifted.

Credit NOAA

Ashley Dean is the digital news editor for New Orleans Public Radio. Before coming to New Orleans, she was the editor of Denverite, a digital news startup now under the Colorado Public Radio umbrella. Prior to that she was a copy editor and features writer at the Denver Post, and before that, a music reporter for the Colorado Daily. She graduated from Columbia University with a master's degree in journalism and from Northeastern University with a bachelor's degree in journalism.
As Coastal Reporter, Travis Lux covers flood protection, coastal restoration, infrastructure, the energy and seafood industries, and the environment. In this role he's reported on everything from pipeline protests in the Atchafalaya swamp, to how shrimpers cope with low prices. He had a big hand in producing the series, New Orleans: Ready Or Not?, which examined how prepared New Orleans is for a future with more extreme weather. In 2017, Travis co-produced two episodes of TriPod: New Orleans at 300 examining New Orleans' historic efforts at flood protection. One episode, NOLA vs Nature: The Other Biggest Flood in New Orleans History, was recognized with awards from the Public Radio News Directors and the New Orleans Press Club. His stories often find a wider audience on national programs, too, like NPR's Morning Edition, WBUR's Here and Now, and WHYY's The Pulse.

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